Peer to peer porn a growing problem


Monday, October 20th 2008, 9:12 pm
By: News 9


By Lori Fullbright, for NEWS 9

TULSA, OK -- Peer to peer pornography is a growing problem among teenagers, police said. The teens take nude or sexually explicit pictures of themselves and send them to others either by their cell phone or on the internet.

In response, some prosecutors are taking drastic measures.

Ohio prosecutors charged a 15-year-old girl with felony child pornography after she took a nude picture of herself and sent it to some of her classmates on her cell phone.

They said the charges send kids a message, that these pictures are not just inappropriate, they're illegal.

Technology changes everything, including, in some cases, exhibitionism. It's become easier for teens to make themselves the stars in nude pictures and send those pictures to others.

Many teenagers are sending the pictures between boyfriend and girlfriend. They have no idea it's against the law and most parents have no idea it's going on at all.

"There are a lot of children, anyone under 18, taking pictures with cell phones in a bathroom or straight on nude and then sending it to someone else," said TPD Sgt. Tim Stadler.

Five Tulsa high school students said they believe kids are doing this because they think it will make them popular or liked by a member of the opposite sex. Not one of them realized the pictures are illegal.

All agreed, even if the intent was to send the picture to one special person, the reality is, the pictures would eventually get seen by others, because someone shares it with buddies or worse.

They don't believe the pictures are porn, they relate that to stuff they see on the internet. None of the kids pay for their own phones, but all thought it would be an invasion of their privacy if their parents checked their phones.

Most say their parents aren't tech savvy enough or even aware of the problem.

"I don't think it crosses their mind their kid has pornography or naked pictures on their phone," said one kid.

The girl facing charges in Ohio, if she's convicted, could have to register as a sex offender.

Prosecutors there are also thinking about charging the kids who received the pictures. The Tulsa teenagers disagreed, saying individuals can't always control what others send to you.

Police said parents should learn how to access cell phone pictures, talk to their kids about naked picture sharing and even randomly check their phones.